It is natural for people to have a bias against medical malpractice lawsuits. Probably one of the first things that comes to mind when a person hears the words "medical malpractice" is a patient trying to get rich for a minor injury by filing a frivolous lawsuit against an innocent doctor. Unfortunately, politicians and special interest groups have succeeded in painting this false picture of medical malpractice lawsuits and the civil justice system. That is why we want to take some time to address some of the common myths about medical malpractice. Hopefully the information in this blog and upcoming blogs will help our readers be more informed about this topic.
The first myth that we want to address is the notion that there are a lot of frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits being filed each year that are clogging up our court systems. This is simply not true. Although preventable medical errors are the third leading cause of death in America, medical malpractice lawsuits make up on average less than 1% of all civil claims filed in state courts and less than 3% of all tort cases filed in state courts (tort case means a claim for money damages due to injury) according to research performed by the National Center of State Courts. The CEO of a major malpractice insurance company recently reported that the frequency of medical malpractice claims is at an all time low.
On the flip side, the amount of people being severely injured or killed due to preventable medical errors far outweights the number of medical malpractice claims being made. According to The Medical Malpractice Myth by Professor Tom Baker, research has found that there is as many as ten incidents of medical malpractice for every one claim that is filed in America.
So the next time that you hear that there are a lot of medical malpractice lawsuits being filed, remember that this statement is just a myth. The number of medical malpractice lawsuits are disproportionately low compared to the number of patients injured by malpractice in our country.